The Communist Party of China's Political Relations with Africa is Illegitimate

August 5, 2012

The latest public discourse regarding the Communist Party (CP) of China’s political relations with Africa has highlighted its illegitimacy that many have been expressing for long. The recent analysis given in various media come in the aftermath of Secretary of State Mrs. Hillary Clinton’s visit to Africa and her speech at Dakar University in Senegal. In her speech, the top American diplomat said that “America will stand up for democracy and universal human rights even when it might be easier to look the other way and keep the resources flowing.”

While we can comfortably refrain from speculating the nature of relationship between the Chinese people and their current rulers from the CP of China, we cannot forget the prevailing relationship between at least certain African leading personalities and organized groups that have absolutely no legitimacy to govern the African masses but dictate their shortsighted opportunism upon them.

Before claiming that it has good relations with Africa, the CP may well need to revisit the nature of its relationship with Africa. It is fundamentally incumbent up on it to correctly identify if its claimed relationship is with the people of Africa or with African dictators that the African people have judged to be illegitimate. To the extent that the CP’s relationship is with African dictators that the African masses have judged illegitimate, its claim of good relationship with Africa cannot be anything but legitimate. To the extent that the CP is conscious of its relationship with African dictators instead of African masses, its posture of having good relations with Africa cannot be more than what some have already observed as an archaic opportunism.

Ethiopian masses developed democratic values, which is epitomized by the Oromo Gada system, thousands of years ago. Mrs. Clinton told us once again about America’s firm commitment to democracy and fundamental human rights. Africans did not wait to be reminded by America’s top diplomat about the need for democracy and fundamental human rights in Africa. There are Africans who are conscious about Africa’s egalitarian values that were borrowed by the ancient Greece about 2,500 years ago after which they started to vote and “lit the world,” as a recent documentary titled Greece: Secrets of the Past made it clear.

Even though Mrs. Clinton did not specifically name the CP in her remarks about America’s commitment to a model of sustainable partnership that adds value, the CP has reacted to it, which brought to more light the nature of its dealings with Africa. On August 3, 2012, it stated through its official Xinhua news agency that Mrs. Clinton’s remark is an “insinuation” to the “friendly and mutually beneficial interaction between China and Africa.” It went on to label the top American diplomat’s remark as “utterly wide of the truth,” aimed at “curbing China’s influence” in Africa, driving a “wedge between China and Africa for the U.S. selfish gain,” “cheap shots” that are “uncalled for and unnecessary,” resorting to “rude means,” and “vicious insinuation” that was “doomed to failure.” It is fair to say that this reaction alone shows the CP’s insecurity about its claimed mutual partnership between Africa and China that it perceives or knows to be damageable by a remark of an American diplomat at an African University.

A genuine partnership between Africa and other parties is one that cannot be damaged by remarks of an American diplomat to an African audience at an African University. European colonialists have come to Africa and Africans have fought back and won independence. However, Africa’s colonial experience should not be used as an excuse by new African friends from the east for the purpose of exploiting Africa’s resources. As the collusion of European colonialists with African chiefs was illegitimate and paved the way for the exploitation of the continent’s natural resources, the collusion between the CP and African dictators is illegitimate and indefensible as a mutual friendship between Africans and China. As the Chinese Professor Yan Xuetong wrote in the New York Times on November 20, 2011, the CP may have to do soul searching as far as its relationship with Africa goes. In so doing, it may rediscover ancient Chinese philosophical virtue that the key to international influence is morality, as Professor Xuetong wrote from Beijing. If that morality is any guide, any African friend ought to stand with the African mass, even if it comes at the expense of severing relationships with dictators.

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